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Thread: The Wold and the Downs

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I'm interested in the terms used to describe gepgraphy in the Shire and other parts of Middle-Earth, such as the Wold and the various Downs (White Downs, Far Downs, Barrow Downs, etc). I understand that they are hills of some kind, but could someone people provide more information. What exactly is a wold and downs? I've heard that there are North Downs and South downs in England, and judging by the photos they are rolling hills, like these photos: http://ic2.pbase.com/o6/21/714621/1/92549757.TObJgRnx.HPIM6742.jpgA.jpg http://www.photographersdirect.com/buyers/stockphoto.asp?imageid=769544 The last one look a lot like Shire!

Here's some dictionary help at least (with some etymology)...

Often, downs. (used especially in southern England) open, rolling, upland country with fairly smooth slopes usually covered with grass. Archaic: a hill, especially a sand hill or dune. Middle English; Old English dūn hill; cognate with Dutch duin dune

Wold 'high, open, uncultivated land' (according to Tolkien scholars Hammond and Scull) or 'a usually upland area of open country', capitalized 'hilly or rolling region' (Webster). This word is interesting as it appears related to certain forest related words...

Wold (online source)

O.E. wald (Anglian), weald (W.Saxon, Kentish) "forest, wooded upland," from P.Gmc. *walthuz [cf. O.S., O.Fris. wald, M.Du. wold, Du. woud, O.H.G. wald, Ger. Wald "forest," Swed. vall "pasture," O.N. völlr "soil, field, meadow"]; perhaps connected to wild. The sense development from "forested upland" to "rolling open country" (c.1200) perhaps is from Scandinavian influence, or a testimony to the historical deforestation of Britain. Not current since mid-16c.; survives mainly in place names (cf. Cotswold).

My Anglo-Saxon dictionary notes that 'wold = weald', seemingly implying that the sense was equivalent enough in certain old sources anyway. /.  , implying that at this point the se